Social Media Demands Strong Oversight From Leaders

By Tichaona Zororo

Social media can be a powerful force for enterprises—but not always in the manner they intended.

Social media can help organizations raise their visibility in the marketplace and connect with customers and other key enterprise stakeholders. However, strong governance of social platforms is essential to avoid crises that can result in catastrophic damage to an organization’s brand.

Too many C-suite leaders consider hiring a social media manager the sum of their responsibility on this front. Perhaps these executives are not personally enthusiastic about social media. Maybe they believe they don’t have time to devote to social media. Whatever the reason, business leaders who relegate social media to the marketing department and don’t make it a board-level consideration are underestimating the damage that can occur.

Consider the fact that Facebook alone has about 2 billion users each month, a figure that is about the same as the populations of Africa and Europe combined. Now, factor in the many other social platforms that are popular in various regions of the world, and it’s easy to appreciate the potential reach enterprises can have through their social channels.

Social media penetration worldwide is ever-increasing. Statista, which studies social media statistics from more than 18,000 sources, estimates that number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach some 2.95 billion by 2020.

Great Opportunity, Great Responsibility

With this great opportunity comes great responsibility. Here are six steps organizations can take to provide sound, proactive governance of their social media, and thus realize the business benefits of this technology.

1. Identify social media goals and objectives. Favorites and positive comments offer value, but social media for enterprises is not just a popularity contest. Organizations must determine what they want to attain from their social media outreach and then ensure that their social media strategic and performance plans are aligned to their key business goals and objectives.

2. Devise a social media policy. The level of detail put forth in a social media policy (who develops the content; who reviews the content; who posts, tweets or shares the content; what is the legal team’s role; when, if ever, should comments be deleted) often becomes the determining factor of an organization’s social media success. Developing procedures around interacting with antagonistic commenters also should be addressed. In addition, organizations must be sure to regularly update their social media policies, as enterprise objectives change and new platforms become part of the social media ecosystem.